Jim finished his last Yinz Luv Da Guins episode of the season, fittingly with Cup in hand. If anyone deserves seeing the team win the Cup, it's the guy who has done episodes after EVERY Penguins playoff game this year. Sweet vindication for the tough losses.
And I'm pumped that he started the video with a bit of my interview. Since I'm the designated "Let's Go Pens" chant leader, Jim wanted to know if I had warmed up before the game. My comments are literally the very beginning of the video. And you can see me in action during the montage at the end. The rule at Foley's is that no one is allowed to stand on chairs except for me. Because I rule.
Also, it was great to hang out with a few blogging peeps at Foley's. From left to right is Cotter (in the camo), Christmas Ape from KSK and DC Steeler Nation and me. When you're watching the montage at the end, check out our worried faces as the third period was winding down.
Finally, some kind of actual recap about the Pittsburgh Passion. This weekend gave us their regular-season finale against the New York Sharks, which inspired the above Youtube video. I know...it's like Passion overload for one week!
So I'm dropping the mic and letting my buddy smarchit take over. His wife used to play for the Passion, and he has incredible details on a game that has gotten no real attention. It's actually quite thrilling, complete with a late-game comeback.
Following the Penguins' awesome Cup clinching victory Friday night, team members of the city's next championship hopeful didn't have much time to celebrate.The 6-1 Pittsburgh Passion boarded a bus at 4:30 AM Saturday morning for their regular season finale, a 3:30 PM affair in Brooklyn against the dangerous 4-2 New York Sharks. Certainly not a pushover, but a team that the Passion should've been able to beat, especially with them needing a win to clinch the lone Eastern Conference wildcard berth.
Call it "bus-lag", perhaps a bit of overconfidence, or maybe even a Penguins hangover, but the Passion came out struggling in the first half, failing to convert on their first five 3rd down conversion attempts.By the time the 2nd quarter horn sounded, the Passion found themselves on the wrong end of a 13-0 deficit in a must win game. The second half started no better, as the Passion fumbled away their opening possession, setting up NY with a short field for their 3rd td, which pushed the lead to 19-0.
Pittsburgh finally started to come to life midway through the 3rd quarter, as FB/K Lauren Bracco broke the scoring drought with a bruising 3 yd td run and also tacked on the PAT. On the following NY possession, the Sharks fumbled on their second play, and the Passion offense looked to be right back in business.But they immediately turned it over on downs, and with 2 minutes to go in the 3rd qtr, still trailed 19-7. The Passion defense responded with a 3 and out of their own, as the 3rd quarter clock ran out.The Sharks punted to start the 4th, but had it partially blocked, giving Pittsburgh great field position at their own 31 yard line. This time, they capitalized, as Bracco capped off the drive with a 2 yard dive and XP to cut the lead to 19-14 with 10:50 to go in regulation.
Bracco then executed a perfect 10.5 yard onside kick, which was recovered by Passion DB Michelle Brevard-Wilkerson. After a questionable call by the referees that mistakenly allowed Wilkerson to advance the onside kick, they started out at the 25. On the first play, TE Autumn Dillaman caught a 20 yard pass to the 5.Then in classic recent Pittsburgh sports style, the momentum and collective hearts of the Passion fans nearly stopped as QB Lisa Horton fumbled the snap, but was luckily able to dive into the line to recover it. RB Amanda Haeg got the ball down inside the 1 yd line, and on 3rd down, Horton redeemed herself with a TD plunge. The 2 pt conversion attempt failed, but the Passion had fought back from an unthinkable deficit to take a 20-19 lead with 7:00 to go in the game.
Despite the huge momentum swing, the Sharks refused to say die. QB Karen Mulligan put together an impressive drive, hitting WR Jen Blum for the go ahead TD with 3:34 to go. Mulligan connected once more with Mandy Oppel, who fell down, but got just enough progress for the 2 point conversion, putting the Sharks back on top 27-20.
At the 2 minute warning, the Passion were faced with a 4th down situation.Horton bootlegged around right end and out of bounds for a huge season prolonging first down at the 42.1:52 left. 11 yd pass to Wil Walton.Another first down at the 31.Clock continues to roll. Incomplete pass. 1:37 left. 7 yd pass to Walton, but she can't get out of bounds. Final Passion timeout at 1:19, ball at the 23 yd line.3rd down play, Lori Johnson drops a would be first down pass, and the season comes down to one play yet again.4th and 3, Horton looks to pass, and finally scrambles, breaks a potential game ending tackle, and gets ahead and out of bounds for another huge first down near the 12.1:00 left.Next play, the Sharks drop a would be interception in the end zone.More near heart attacks, but still clinging to life.0:53.4 left.2nd down.Pass complete to near the 3 yard line.Can't get out of bounds. Tick tick tick.....less than 40 seconds....approaching 30 seconds....HORTON KEEPER UP THE MIDDLE...TOUCHDOWN PASSION!!! Down 1, Pittsburgh elects to play for the tie.Looks to be a given, but it's a bad snap!Holder Sherry Kring goes clutch though, reaching for the snap, and getting it down for Bracco to punch through the uprights. 27 all!!
Sharks take over with 14 seconds to go from their own 25.Two deep attempts fall incomplete, followed by a harmless 25 yard completion to end regulation and send us to overtime.
NCAA OT rules....both teams get chances from the 25.Sharks got the ball first in the overtime period.2 more incomplete passes put the Sharks in a 3rd down situation.On 3rd down, Mulligan appeared to be sacked, but fought off the pressure to complete a go ahead TD pass to Chante Bonds who got behind a handful of Passion defenders in the endzone.Prior to the extra point attempt, Pittsburgh calls a timeout.Icing the kicker! It worked, as Laura Pringle missed the XP to keep the lead at 6 points.33-27 New York.
The Passion needed an answer, or this break would be meaningless. 1st down, pass tipped incomplete. 2nd down, Jen Hoffman takes a counter for 4 yards. 3rd and 6. Pass off the hands and incomplete. 4th and game from the 21 yard line. Horton passes to the endzone, and finds TE Autumn Dillaman for the tying score.So it all came down to the leg of Lauren Bracco, and she didn't disappoint, nailing her fourth XP of the game to seal the deal on a HUGE Passion come from behind win.WOW!! WHAT AN INSTANT CLASSIC IN THE MIDST OF A HUGE PITTSBURGH SPORTS WEEKEND!!
With the win, the Passion move to 7-1, and have punched their playoff tickets. They will travel to DC, the site of their only loss of the season for a first round playoff game on June 27th against the 8-0 DC Divas
Your Pittsburgh Penguins just won the Stanley Cup! Your next move should be to...
...get a brand-new tattoo of the skating Penguin logo on your derriere. I've blurred out some massive crack in the picture. We try to keep it mostly PG-13 in these parts.
Thanks (?) to Deadspin for the image. You can get a full view of the crack attack there, if you want.
SCAVENGER HUNT UPDATE: You've made it. Check below, if you've somehow managed to gaze away from the butt up top. Email a screenshot of the pic below to the appropriate parties so everyone knows you've made it!
I was planning on writing a bunch here, but I'm a little amped up. I got summer hours at work, so I left that place in the dust around noon. I got to the corner where my apartment is, and two cars hit head on at the intersection (it's stupidly a four-way that only has a stop sign on one of the roads). An old dude was driving one of 'em, lost consciousness at the collision, and his car aimed right at me. Luckily, it hit the building next to me.
What I'm saying is...be happy you're alive to see Game 7 coming tonight. We don't always take full advantage of the days we're given, but let's all make a pact to live it up today. Especially, because today is A GREAT DAY FOR HOCKEY!
First up, check out these sweet pictures, courtesy of Robert Ullman, that my bud Phil at Gunaxin all organized into one place. I had Ullman's stuff on PSAMP quite some time ago (back at blogspot), which was brought to the new place at this link.
Next, check out Damian's sweet picture. Love how China Jack and a mini horse made the cut.
And finally, Benson passes along his latest work, which mirrors those sweet Canon Rebel commercials. If you didn't already have chills, you have 'em now.
*UPDATE* Can't believe I forgot the latest Yinz Luv Da Guins. Sorry, Jim!
Not a lot of people have been mentioning Tenk's previous SCF Game 7. You know, when he scored both goals in a 2-1 Cup-winning game for the Lightning over the Flames? So I can't wait to see if he can duplicate that feat tonight.
What IS cool is this story, sent to me by Kristin, of Tenk hanging out with his stepsons prior to leaving for Detroit and the last game of the season. His wife Debbie, pictured here with him and some sweet dogs, has three sons, one of which is older than Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, etc., etc., etc.
The two younger ones had a USHL tryout, and Tenk wanted to be there with them. Nice way to take your mind off the stress involved with the looming task.
He accompanied his stepsons to a Youngstown Phantoms’ tryout before leaving for Detroit and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Young hockey hopefuls trying out for the Youngstown Phantoms this week got a special treat on Wednesday — a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins was at the Ice Zone as his stepsons took part in the tryouts.
Ruslan Fedotenko, who plays on the same line with Penguins’ star and fellow Russian-native Evgeni Malkin, was able to take in Wednesday’s practice before the team heads to Detroit for Friday night’s deciding Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
The Phantoms are a 16-20-year-old franchise in the United States Hockey League, which will play a 32-game home slate at the Covelli Centre starting in October.
“I want them to play in the USHL because it is a high quality league and they will learn a lot, and that is where I started with the Sioux City, Iowa, team of the USHL [in 1998-99],” said Fedotenko at the Ice Zone, where he and his wife, Debbie (Heelan) accompanied stepsons Larkin (18) and Derek (19) Jacobson.
Fedotenko, 30, who hails from Kiev, Ukraine, and is in his eighth NHL season and first with the Penguins, was greeted at the Ice Zone by Alex Zoldan, the new Phantoms’ president, and Brian Wojtowicz, head of team’s corporate sales department.
“It is great if you can have a Penguin visit the tryouts before the biggest game of his life and watching his stepsons try out for the team, “ said Zoldan.
Fedotenko said he and his wife have another stepson, Kyle (22), who played club hockey for the University of Iowa and just recently graduated.
I stole that top picture from this place. Here's more, which are just unbelievably great.
Jack is back! Unfortunately, with Gavin coming back to the states for a few months, this will be the last Penguins toast from Jack this season. But since Game 7 looms on the horizon, it couldn't come at a better time.
Jack has his own Cup replica, and instead of a normal chug in a glass, he finishes this toast using fakey Lord Stanley. And in his words, he notes the struggles we as fans have gone through since Detroit lifted the Cup in Pittsburgh.
"Who know about pride and passion better than Pengrins? And the fans? NO ONE!"